Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Kickoff Preview (Part 1)

Last week I spent a lot of time watching college football since the NFL wasn’t on yet. It was a nice appetizer, but c’mon everybody, the NFL is the entrée.

We’ve got 15 people in our Pro Football Pick’em and each week Graham and I will be previewing a few games that we differ on.

But it’s the first week, we can’t preview just a few. We have to do it big, whatever that means. Without further ado, the RTS mega week 1 NFL preview.

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)

Chris: Was last year’s Titans the most pathetic 13-3 team in the history of the NFL? How does a team win 13 games with Kerry Collins at QB and no legitimate WR? Chris Johnson and the defense carried the Titans last year, and with Haynesworth gone, I don’t see this happening again. The Titans scream 8-8 to me. This will be one of the losses, and I have them going down by a touchdown or more.

Graham: Here’s where Chris and I differ: I think the Titans can have another big year. You see, no one played out of their minds last year. It’s not like Kerry Collins had 4,000 yards and 25 TDs, in fact his stats were rather pedestrian: 58.3% completion percentage, 2,676 yards and 12 touchdowns. I mean, there’s no comedown here. He was adequate, and the Titans won 13 games, so why can’t they win 11 or 12 again this year? Yes, losing Haynesworth hurt, but the Titans defense always loses players, and they always recover. That said, Pittsburgh gets the nod this week.

Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons (-4.5)

Chris: Both of these teams benefited from the easy schedule last year to turn things around. They won’t get that same luxury this year. I could see both these teams hovering around .500 all year. I say that with love since I’m a Dolphins fan. Atlanta doesn’t have the defense, and Miami struggles against top-notch teams. This game seems like a tossup, so I’m taking Miami and the points.

Graham: Follow this logic… “Atlanta doesn’t have the defense, and Miami struggles against top-notch teams.” Most people would argue that not having a defense doesn’t make you a top-notch team. So why would Miami struggle against Atlanta? Bizarre logic. I like Atlanta though, and I think Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez are going to be a better couple than Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly. At least they better be, since I have Gonzalez on my fantasy team. I like the Falcons.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)

Chris: I hate, hate, hate the Broncos this year. How much do I hate them? I’m picking them to lose to the Bengals by at least a touchdown. Ouch.

Graham: Ugh, who cares. Denver, I guess.

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns

Chris: Brett Favre vs. Derek Anderson. Ugh. Is Anderson even the starter in Cleveland, or is it Brady Quinn? I couldn’t even tell you, as I’ve read more Tila Tequila NFL stories this preseason than Browns previews. That doesn’t bode well for Cleveland, or Tila, or Shawne Merriman, or the Chargers, or me. I can’t rightfully pick the Browns. Let’s move on.

Graham: I want to pick Cleveland out of spite towards Brett Favre, but I can’t. Cleveland is awful. Hey, remember last year when everyone had them as a 10-win team and a dark horse contender? Remember how they were on national tv, like, 14 times? Can we all just pretend that didn’t happen? Minnesota by double digits.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-6.5)

Chris: Considering I got Peyton Manning as my fantasy quarterback, I don’t really care who wins the game as long as the Colts score in the 30s. Plus, I’m going against MJD, so uh, crap, am I talking about fantasy football already? Sorry for the tangent, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, these divisional games always seem to go down to the wire. I’m thinking Indy wins by a field goal, which means my pick in the Jags. Make sense?

Graham: I don’t love the Colts this year. New coach, new coordinator, no wideout who seems a sure thing as Reggie Wayne’s number 2. I’m with Chris, Indy by a field goal.

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-11.5)

Chris: How in the hell can I pick an 0-16 team? I can’t. Since that’s what everyone else is thinking, it’s time for a quick tangent. The other night some friends and I were playing a board game called “Imagine If.” The premise isn’t vital to the story. Anyway, the question that was posed was, “Imagine if Dave was his dream job. What would he be: a) doctor b) painter c) video game tester d) athlete e) lawyer.” Now, Dave is a “gamer.” He probably has attended a few LAN parties in his day. Everyone playing "Imagine If", including his wife, turned over their card and showed that they picked “c) video game tester.” Everyone, except Dave that is. He picked painter. It was the highest of high-comedy. I’m giving Dave some water colors and an easel for his birthday. Dave the painter.

Graham: This line could be New Orleans (-27.5), and I’d still take the Saints. The bigger question is, when will the Lions win again? Or, perhaps more accurately, can they win again? Looking at their schedule, they have five teams they could conceivably compete against: Washington, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati and San Francisco. I mean, they’ll win one of those, won’t they? Honestly, I’m hoping they don’t. 0-16 was just too much fun last year. Why be another crappy 2-14 team when you can be a historic 0-16 team?

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Bucs

Chris: You know how I said I hate the Broncos this year? I feel the same way about the Bucs. I think there are about 8 legitimate contenders this year (Indy, New England, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Philadelphia, Baltimore, NY Giants and one team will rise up from the Dallas/Green Bay/Carolina/Arizona bunch), about 18 middle of the road teams (Atlanta, Miami, etc.) and then about 6 disasters waiting to happen. Tampa Bay and Denver are two of those teams. I’m going with Dallas by two touchdowns, at least.

Graham: Here’s a sign you won’t be a good team: when I can’t name your starting quarterback, as is the case this year with Tampa. Honestly, I watch a lot of football, I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable, yet I’m sitting here drawing a blank on Tampa’s starting QB. I know it’s not Chris Simms. Pretty sure it’s not Bruce Gradkowski or whatever. I’m almost positive it’s not Vinny Testaverde, but I won’t rule it out. I had to go online and find out it’s Byron Leftwich. So he left one inconsequential Florida team to go to another. Impressive. By the way, I’m taking Dallas.

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-0.5)

Chris: Would I rather have a crappy quarterback, stellar running game and good defense, or a good quarterback, crappy WRs and a good defense? Uh, I don’t know. I’m going with Carolina since I’m a DeAngelo Williams fan, and the game is at Carolina. That, and I don’t like Donovan McNabb’s mom.

Graham: Let’s travel back in time to January, and Jake Delhomme’s last performance, in a playoff game against Arizona: five interceptions, and a lost fumble. So, until further notice, I won’t be taking Carolina in too many pick ‘ems. Philly.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.

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